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Determining Economic Contributions and Impacts: What is the difference and why do we care?


  • Watson, Philip
  • Wilson, Joshua
  • Thilmany, Dawn D.
  • Winter, Susan


Economic contribution and impact studies are common tasks for regional economists, but the semantics of the discipline suffer from a lack of standardization with respect to dif-ferences between economic contributions, impacts and benefits. These terms refer to 3 dis-tinct metrics which are useful for answering different questions and each has situations when their use is appropriate. This article provides a pedagogical and methodological framework for how and when these terms should be applied in the context of regional eco-nomic analysis. Past studies are reviewed and a standardized semantic is presented. It is recommended that economists working in this field use a more explicit and unified termi-nology and methodology when conducting regional economic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Watson, Philip & Wilson, Joshua & Thilmany, Dawn D. & Winter, Susan, 2007. "Determining Economic Contributions and Impacts: What is the difference and why do we care?," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 37(2).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jrapmc:132414

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephan Weiler, 2000. "Pioneers and Settlers in Lo-Do Denver: Private Risk and Public Benefits in Urban Redevelopment," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 37(1), pages 167-179, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hodges, Alan W. & Stevens, Thomas J. & Wysocki, Allen F., 2014. "Local and Regional Food Systems in Florida: Values and Economic Impacts," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 46(02), May.
    2. Terance J. Rephann, 2011. "The Economic Impact of the Horse Industry in Virginia," Reports 2011-02, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
    3. Bangsund, Dean A. & Hodur, Nancy M., 2016. "Economic Effects of the Air National Guard on the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area," Agribusiness & Applied Economics Report 232868, North Dakota State University, Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.
    4. Watson, Philip & Cooke, Stephen & Kay, David & Alward, Greg, 2015. "A Method for Improving Economic Contribution Studies for Regional Analysis," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 45(1).
    5. Gunter, Allison & Goemans, Chris & Pritchett, James G. & Thilmany, Dawn D., 2012. "Linking an Equilibrium Displacement Mathematical Programming Model and an Input-Output Model to Estimate the Impacts of Drought: An Application to Southeast Colorado," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 124930, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    6. Deisentroth, Daniel B. & Loomis, John B. & Bond, Craig A., 2013. "Using Revealed Preference Behavioral Models to Correctly Account for Substitution Effects in Economic Impact Analysis," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 43(2).
    7. Elena G. Irwin & Andrew M. Isserman & Maureen Kilkenny & Mark D. Partridge, 2010. "A Century of Research on Rural Development and Regional Issues," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 92(2), pages 522-553.

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    Financial Economics; Productivity Analysis;


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